Spiritualized: Leeds Metropolitan University, 3/11/12
Pierce is undoubtedly the focal point of the band, the only original member since the bands inception in 1990, he writes, composes and sings all the music. Despite being the supposed figurehead it seems odd that he sits unassumingly through the whole set in his sunglasses with not a word spoken to the audience. Jason Pierce seemingly couldn’t care less.
Stylistically Spiritualized keep all the fanfare to a minimum; quite clearly they just wanted to get on with it. No intro music or cutting the lights before entering the stage, Jason Pierce (or stage name J Spaceman) wants to get straight to the music. Stylistically Pierce creates an aura around you, the trippy aesthetics of the projector beaming onto the band with colorful, expansive images of clouds, mountains and natural phenomena are captivating. The two gospel singers positioned stage right wore matching white dresses transitioning to the darker clothes worn by the band themselves as Pierce himself sits through the whole set expressionless.
The songs layered perfectly with the sharp visuals beamed across the band on a projector as they go through a set heavily featuring tracks from Sweet Heart Sweet Light but featuring enough of the classics for variation. Despite having not been a huge fan of the latest album, I have to admit that most of the new tracks felt long, drawn-out and often unnecessary. ‘Hey Jane’ is typical of this, an arrogant, urgent anthem which needs be no longer than 3 minutes but somehow becomes 9 minutes long. Of course this doesn’t affect the crowd to begin with, the demographic of which was ‘of a certain age’. This didn’t surprise me and regardless they watched transfixed to the frail Pierce and the rest of the band singing along word for word.
The biggest highlights of the night were the tracks from the 1998 masterpiece Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space, ‘Come Together’ and ‘Stay With Me’ were intensely satisfying, each aided by an individual visual show, flashing vigorously for the up-tempo songs and more appropriately for the slower ballads.
In the end it really didn’t matter whether J Spaceman acknowledged the crowd, Spiritualized played a tight set and sounded as good as ever.